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Catalan census links burqas with terror threat
Burqas cover the whole face including the eyes whereas niqabs leave the eyes visible. Photo: Juan Warnand/AFP

Catalan census links burqas with terror threat

Published: 27 Aug 2013 12:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Aug 2013 12:45 GMT+02:00

Catalan cops are keeping a close eye on Muslim women wearing full-body veils to determine whether they are linked to any radical Islamist groups in the region.

Catalonia's Mossos d’Esquadra police are taking a census of every Muslim woman wearing a niqab or burqa. 

Whenever they see a woman wearing a full-body veil which also covers their faces, by taking down their details and passing it on to the local authorities.

"Catalan police have always been convinced that niqab-bearing women can be indicative of a radical or Salafist branch of Islam," Spain’s Interior ministry explained.

On July 18th, the Catalan Parliament approved a motion which bans people from covering their faces if deemed a security risk.

Several political parties in the region are now pushing for the law to apply to Muslim head gear, which would prohibit its usage in public spaces across Catalonia.

Salafism as a more rigorous Islamic movement associated with Sunni Muslims which defend the traditional values of the Koran.

Although the exact number of Muslims and veil-bearing women in Catalonia is not known, figures from the Islamic Andalusí Observatory state there are 427,000 people who practise Islam in the region.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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